Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Meyer Lemon Macarons

I have read a lot about Meyer Lemons in recent years. This spring I was finally lucky to see them in the store and was able to try them myself. Meyer Lemons are not as sour as regular lemons, and they have a hint of thyme and a very fragrant skin. They are perfect for making lemon curd, and I was thinking about making Meyer Lemon macarons for a long time.

So, when this month's challenge for Mactweets macaron was revealed, I immediately thought about an old children's poem from the legendary Heinz Erhardt. We were called to be inspired by a childhood fairytale or story for our monthly macaron flavor. Heinz Erhardt was a German comedian, actor, entertainer and also wrote children's poems. I always loved to watch his movies. The poem is called "Why lemons turned sour".

Warum die Zitronen sauer wurden

Ich muß das wirklich mal betonen:
Ganz früher waren die Zitronen
(ich weiß nur nicht genau mehr, wann dies
gewesen ist) so süß wie Kandis.

Bis sie einst sprachen: Wir Zitronen,
wir wollen groß sein wie Melonen!
Auch finden wir das Gelb abscheulich,
wir wollen rot sein oder bläulich!

Gott hörte oben die Beschwerden
und sagte: Daraus kann nichts werden!
Ihr müßt so bleiben! Ich bedauer!
Da wurden die Zitronen sauer.

Meyer Lemon Macarons

Macaron shells:
(adapted from Tartelette)

80 g egg whites (about 2 large egg whites - aged for 3-5 days in the fridge)
22 g granulated sugar
180 g powdered sugar
100 g ground almonds
zest from 1 Meyer lemon
yellow food coloring

Meyer Lemon Curd
(adapted from epicurious)

1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
60 ml (¼ cup) Meyer lemons juice
45 g (¼ cup) sugar
1 egg
55 g (½ stick) butter, cut into pieces

Make the shells:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, add the food coloring, if using liquid coloring (if using powdered coloring add it later to the almond/ sugar mixture), then gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Place the powdered sugar, almonds and lemon zest in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280 degrees Fahrenheit (140° Celsius). When ready, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.

Make the filling: Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and the egg in a metal bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking, until thickened and smooth about 5 minutes and has a temperature of about 160°F (70°C). Take of the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Force curd through a fine sieve set into another bowl to cool.

Pipe the lemon curd filling with help of a pastry bag on the center of one shell and top with another one.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!
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